"The Cheers of Coffeehouses" (Aug. 22, 2009)
Posted at www.kaiteurcoffeehouse.com:
Kaiteur Coffeehouse closing announcment
How do you sum up a life transforming experience that has affected you to your core?
For some of you Kaiteur has been a part of your lives anywhere from a few months to a few years. You spend somewhere between a few minutes to a few hours in the store. I on the other hand have been invested in Kaiteur for not just the 3 years that we have actually had our doors opened but around 4 years including the difficult and at times painful process of trying to secure funding from banks only interested in investing in housing as opposed to the dream I had of opening a place where people could (in the words of a friend of mine, Lisa Hall) "feel like they own".
Over those 4 years I have spent a minimum of 12 hours in some way engaged in the effort to make this business a financial success. I make that distinction of"financial success "for a very important reason. You see while this business has not lived up to my financial expectations I have become wealthy in relationships and have grown significantly in my faith. I was reading 2 cor 12:9 a few days back where Paul recounts a conversation he had with God asking him to remove a thorn in his flesh and the reply was "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." This has proven very true in me over these past4 years. I have often said (to myself because it is somewhat reckless considering the devastating affect the failure of this business has had on my family's personal finances), that if this business had succeeded from the very beginning I would have been the worst off for it in many ways, because there would not have been the character development that God has accomplished in me due to my weakness.
You all have played a part in that development. Your honesty about your struggles with the stuff of life has shaped me. Many of you have experienced your own financial catastrophes but you still made a little of you significantly reduced pie available to spend with us. You guys have seen my children born and grow up. We have shared our thoughts openly and honestly because I believe it was always understood that we were speaking from a position of love for one another.
I never thought opening this business would have enabled me to develop so many valuable relationships and I commit to you to do my part to see that they continue even as the store closes.
I would ask one small favor of all of you who are affected by this closing. Please understand that in the next 30 days I will be having a number of conversations about our closing, and they will take a deeply emotional toll on me. I know you have much to say about this and Shealy and I just ask that if you feel so inclined please leave a post on our website with your thoughts.
I am happy to announce that Erin has moved on to a great new opportunity and her position will not be filled for obvious reasons so there will be a greater demand placed on me during my 12 hour day, the emotional strain of having numerous detailed discussions about the store closing would prove to be a little too much for me to handle. Thank you guys for understanding this.
Quick little housekeeping, we choose to extend the closing 30 day to allow those of you who have coffee cards to redeem them, please come in as promptly as possible and do so. It is our sincere desire not to have anyone have a card balance that they cannot redeem.
Finally, here's what the God that I serve has taught me about love: Love says "what can I do for you", real love wants something for you not something from you.
From the bottom of my and Shealy's heart, We love you all so very much!
Moose & Shealy
Kaiteur Coffeehouse - sometimes dubbed the "Cheers of coffeehouses" for its friendly, neighborhood atmosphere - announced it will be closing after the next 30 days.
After going on their third year of being in business, owners Moose and Shealy Halley sat down with heavy hearts two weeks ago and began discussing the painful possibility of closing the coffee shop.
"It's been a challenge from the beginning," said Moose Halley, while fixing dinner for his two young children. "You know the first six months, the first year, is going to be challenging. So you hope beyond the first year. Then you hope beyond the second year. Well, it's now our third year... You get to a stage you realize, we've got to stop at some point."
"We found the volume just isn't there," explained Halley, a former financial analyst. "The folks coming through our doors... Despite the sufficient volume of folks going to work, it's been really hard to get people to consistently come through our doors and buy our product. I don't think it's for lack of people knowing we're around."
They also had the unfortunate timing of opening right as the recession hit.
The Halleys had moved to Conyers because of its community and opened the business in February 2007 using their own personal retirement savings. Like many entrepreneurs, they poured their sweat, tears and dreams into the place.
And in many ways, it succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, serving as a safe place to form richly rewarding relationships and to foster community.
"It's hard for me to say that it's a failure, not just because I don't want to say I was part of a failure, but because I know there's a value there to those relationships," he said. Customer comments left on the website of the Christian-oriented coffeeshop attest to that, describing Kaiteur and the atmosphere the Halleys have created as a "haven of peace and comfort" and a place that had touched many lives.
"I love even the thought of having contributed to something like that," said Halley. "A space where people can meet, and make friends with people they would pass in Publix. It means so much to me that they would come into that space and discover some commonality."
But financially, it was a struggle. The family will be in debt for some time, which was more reason to find something that will bring in money instead, said Halley. And the physically exhausting, 12-hour days and the business struggle was having a toll.
"We sat down and talked about the impact it's having on our family. The things we used to be able to do that we don't get to do anymore. Like take vacations," said Halley.
So with heavy hearts, the Halleys posted notice of their decision online after closing for the day on Saturday, sent out an email Sunday evening, and posted a notice on their door Monday morning.
The shop will stay open for the next 30 days to give customers a chance to redeem any coffee cards and gift cards.
Halley said he didn't know exactly what he'd be doing next. But he does know he and his family will be staying in Conyers and in the community.
"There's so many things about myself I've discovered through this business. I know that's valuable somewhere else. I have a sense of optimism about what I do next. But I don't know what that is yet."